July Fourth in the US
Reprinted from my Monday Morning Memo® of July 2:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
That’s the Preamble to the Constitution. We haven’t wholly embodied it, but we’re striving to do so. We don’t always agree, but our disagreements are public and candid. “Polarization” is a vague and deceptive concept, because it is caused by a fringe on either side of issues. There is a difference between one person or group being “right” and another being “wrong,” and that constitutes debate within a democracy. But the notion that one party is right and, therefore, the other is morally inferior and undeserving of consideration is invidious and reprehensible.
We openly debate and vote on issues including immigration, abortion, climate, taxation, education, social justice, discrimination, and legality. In many other countries these are not public issues but rather governmental fiats and ukases. In yet other countries they are more easily dealt with because they are nation-states of one people and one hertiage, and not pluralistic nations such as the United States.
And so I write here looking at one of our great secular holidays and reminding us that even in our differences the Founders provided the freedoms to disagree and to resolve, to lessen conflict and reach consensus.
Whether we choose to do so today is up to us.
The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence knew they would be hanged if the British had won. They were flawed people, as are we all, but they were brave people, as well. My hope on this Fourth of July is that we can all be brave in reaching effective solutions for our joint future.